Delta Air Lines
Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

When Loyalty Bites You Back. SkyMiles Changes 2024 From Delta Air Lines.

Fare is fare. Right?

A classic example of when loyalty bites you back are the SkyMiles changes 2024 from Delta Air Lines that were supposed to have been officially announced tomorrow, Thursday, September 14, 2023 but have since been leaked — and the announcement has since been posted at the official Internet web site of Delta Air Lines.

When Loyalty Bites You Back. SkyMiles Changes 2024 From Delta Air Lines.

Delta Air Lines
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

The leaked data is at this official Internet web site of Delta Professional of Delta Air Lines and has been replicated in its entirety below:


Delta continues to innovate our SkyMiles Program based on customer feedback to remain the industry’s premier loyalty program.

Beginning January 1, 2024, we are changing the way SkyMiles Members qualify for Medallion Status to preserve the exclusivity and experience our most loyal customers and travelers look forward to and deserve. As part of these changes, select Delta SkyMiles American Express Card Members will also see changes to their Delta Sky Club Access.

These changes will simplify how to earn Status, offer new and enhanced ways to earn Status and preserve the premium experience for our SkyMiles and Medallion Members.

Simpler Status Tracking: Beginning January 1, 2024, all SkyMiles Members will earn toward Status through only MQDs. SkyMiles Members will no longer earn Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) or Medallion Qualifying Segments (MQ5s). Customers won’t lose any Rollover MQMs accrued – starting early 2024, Members can choose to convert Rollover MOMs to MODs or miles (or a combination of both).

More ways to earn Status: With these changes to the SkyMiles Program, Members can now earn Status through purchases on eligible Delta SkyMiles American Express Cards, car rentals and stays booked on, and Delta Vacations, in addition to Delta and partner flights. Earn by spending how and when you want, with Delta and our partners.

We’re committed to a premium Member experience, including in our Clubs. Delta SkyMiles Reserve and Reserve Business American Express Card Members will receive 10 Club visits per Medallion Year starting Feb. 1, 2025. Members can earn unlimited Access after spending $75K on their eligible Card in a calendar year and will have unlimited Club Access for the remainder of the current Medallion Year and the following Medallion Year. Tracking begins Jan. 1, 2024, for the 2025 Medallion Year. Effective January 1, 2024, eligible Card Members with Basic Economy (E) fare tickets (or similar “Light” or “basic” tickets issued by a Delta partner) will not have access to the Delta Sky Club.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2024, the Delta SkyMiles Platinum and Platinum Business American Express Cards will no longer provide Club Access. There will be no changes to how SkyMiles Members earn and redeem miles, the changes only affect the way they qualify for Medallion Status.

Delta remains committed to our agency partners and have heard feedback for a simplified earning structure for our SkyMiles Program. These changes will allow us to continue to reward top travelers and ensure the best possible experience on both business and leisure trips. Delta Business continues to be committed to supporting travel policies and maximizing value for our mutual customers.

Delta Air Lines Comfort+ seat
Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

Earning Million Miler Status will require flying as a passenger aboard airplanes — so the number of miles flown while aboard an airplane are the only metric that will count towards Million Miler Status — but at least Million Miler status will be the number three tie breaker in 2024 after Medallion Status and fare class for consideration of being upgraded.

Additionally, the following changes become effective in January of 2024:

  • Earn one Medallion Qualification Dollar per one United States dollar spent on:
    • The ticket price for a flight marketed and operated by Delta Air Lines or by a partner airline
    • Vehicle rentals and lodging through the official direct channels of Delta Air Lines
    • The entire vacation experience — in addition to what you earn for your flight — when booking directly with Delta Vacations
  • Flights which are booked and ticketed by eligible partner airlines will earn Medallion Qualification Dollars at the same rate as they do today, which is based on the fare class purchased and distance flown.
  • With credit cards, the amount of Medallion Qualification Dollars you can earn from spend is unlimited — but members earn only one Medallion Qualification Dollar for every:
    • Ten dollars spent with the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card and Reserve Business Card
    • Twenty dollars spent with the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Card and Platinum Business American Express Card

The minimum amount of Medallion Qualification Dollars that are required to earn Medallion Elite Status in 2025 — meaning what is spent on qualifying purchases but excluding taxes and fees — are as follows:

  • Silver Medallion Status: 6,000 Medallion Qualification Dollars — an increase of 100 percent from 3,000
  • Gold Medallion Status: 12,000 Medallion Qualification Dollars — an increase of 50 percent from 8,000
  • Platinum Medallion Status: 18,000 Medallion Qualification Dollars — an increase of 50 percent from 12,000
  • Diamond Medallion Status: 35,000 Medallion Qualification Dollars — an increase of 75 percent from 20,000

Rollover Medallion Qualification Miles will convert to your choice of 20 to one Medallion Qualification Dollar or two to one SkyMile — or a combination of both — starting in early 2024.

The Medallion Qualification Dollar Waiver and Status Boost benefits on eligible Delta SkyMiles American Express Cards will no longer be available as of Monday, January 1, 2024.

For the first time ever, SkyMiles members who live outside of the United States will now earn Medallion elite status via Medallion Qualification Dollars. All currencies convert to United States dollars at the standard exchange rate at the time of ticketing or purchase; and will then convert from one United States dollar to one Medallion Qualification Dollar
— excluding amounts for taxes and government-imposed fees.

The good news — if you want to euphemistically call it that — is that the SkyMiles membership program became simpler with some semblance of Loyalty Points with the American Airlines AAdvantage membership program; and the competition for better service and upgrades will likely be significantly reduced for those members who have Medallion elite status after the changes become effective.

Changes in Access to Delta SkyClubs

Starting on Saturday, February 1, 2025 — after spending $75,000.00 on their eligible card in a calendar year and will have unlimited access to Delta Sky Clubs for the remainder of the current Medallion Year and for the following Medallion Year — members with the:

  • Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card and Reserve Business American Express Card will be eligible for ten visits to Delta Sky Clubs per Medallion year. Spend tracking begins Monday, January 1, 2024 for the 2025 Medallion Year.
  • Platinum Card and Business Platinum Card from American Express Card Members will be eligible for six visits to Delta Sky Clubs per Medallion year. Spend tracking begins Monday, January 1, 2024 for the 2025 Medallion Year.

Also effective as of Monday, January 1, 2024:

  • The Delta SkyMiles Platinum Card and Platinum Business American Express Card will no longer provide Card Members with access to Delta Sky Clubs.
  • All American Express Card Members traveling on a Basic Economy ticket or an equivalent ticket with a partner airline will not receive Delta Sky Club Access.

Final Boarding Call

Delta Air Lines bankruptcy emergence Salt Lake City
Photograph ©2007 by Brian Cohen.

Although it is still a good airline in my opinion, Delta Air Lines has not been my preferred airline for years now; and I do not consider it a premium brand of airline. Delta Air Lines is a choice of airline only when doing so is sensible to me. I have not gone out of my way to be a customer of that airline in years. This is purely a business decision based on the business decisions from Delta Air Lines, which is a multinational company that has a right to profit in any way it sees fit in accordance with the law.

I have written extensively at The Gate With Brian Cohen over the years about the continued decimation of what used to be a great SkyMiles membership program to which I have been loyal in the past…

…but again, when I say “used to be great”, I mean that from the point of view of the member or customer and not from the company itself — not that there is anything wrong with that. The people in the SkyMiles department of Delta Air Lines keep tweaking the membership program to benefit the airline — even though the most important point of loyalty is to offer incentives for customers to continue patronizing the airline and not to reward customers for past loyalty.

The tweaking must be working, as the SkyMiles membership program continues to be less friendly to members with every “enhancement”. Elite status is now significantly even more difficult to maintain; and — with exceptions — earning and redeeming miles have become more difficult to do…

…but do not be surprised if Delta Air Lines implements one of its now-infamous “givebacks” — you know, where only just enough of a partial correction will result in “happy” customers once again.

That is okay, though: Tom Brady will fix everything on what has arguably become an overvalued product so that Delta Air Lines will end its drought in the Freddie Awards next year…

All photographs ©2007, ©2018, and ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

  1. There are some positives in this:
    (1) Any travel spending (including hotels and cars) can count towards MQD.
    (2) Credit card spending and flight dollars go hand in hand now to qualify.
    (3) MQD is on ticket price – which seems to include taxes (didn’t previously)
    (4) Rollover credit could be huge for 2024 (only).
    (5) Having both a Reserve and a Platinum card is no longer helpful – saves money.

    1. They are only offering a paltry 20 to 1 ratio for rollover miles. I will probably have about 40,000, which would put me close to being a Gold with the current system. The 20 to 1 conversion means it won’t even be close to Silver. So much for all of the business I have DL this year.

  2. I am Fecal Medallion Elite and proud of it. I realized in 2016 that Delta Airlines was a Communist airline and SkyMiles was the KBG. I am now trying to burn miles.

    Fecal Medallion Elite has level requires around $100 or more in spending, i.e. a ticket.

    1. With some of the ridiculous valuations of SkyMiles award tickets, derek, using up your SkyMiles quickly should unfortunately be easy…

  3. In previous years, it wasn’t too hard to achieve silver or gold elite status. Currently gold elites get 8 miles per dollar spent and silvers get 7. Now that elite is harder to achieve, more passengers will be urine elite, which earns only 5 miles per dollar. That is an enhancement (devaluation).

  4. I’m a Diamond for 2024, and expect to rollover about 40,000 miles. Under the current plan I would be close to starting the year as Gold status for 2025. Under the new program I will only be a third of the way to Silver. An insult given all the the business I gave Delta in 2023.

    1. I guess that Delta Air Lines is trying to thin the number of SkyMiles members with Medallion elite status quickly, Larry.

      I would like to know how they analyzed the SkyMiles membership program and came up with what they announced yesterday…

  5. Thankfully I have been a Million miler for a number of years, and they aren’t totally messing with that community (yet). I appreciate Delta is a business – but seems like “spending dollars” has become more important to flying for business.

    Not sure why I’d keep the Delta Platinum AMEX – seems to have been fully devalued in this process. Best to recalibrate to a miles-heavy independent option.

    It’s ok (smh) – it just means that as a consumer it’s best to consider all options/all airlines and cost and convenience will rule the day. If this pushes others out of the auto-upgrade, that’s fine – just means more seats available for $$ based upgrades.

    1. I am a Million Miler as well, Chris.

      Unfortunately, I do not see any improvement for that in the future…

      …and many people suspect that their is a reason why Million Miler Status is purposely called annual complimentary and not lifetime

  6. I received my e-mail from Delta and they have published the changes.

    My list needs to be updated:

    (1) Any travel spending (including hotels and cars) can count towards MQD.
    (2) Credit card spending and flight dollars go hand in hand now to qualify.
    (3) Rollover credit could be huge for 2024 (only).
    (4) Having both a Reserve and a Platinum card is no longer helpful – saves money.

    This doesn’t apply:
    MQD is on ticket price – which seems to include taxes (didn’t previously) – it still doesn’t include taxes.

    I am also not pleased that they are treating the “Status boost” as a new benefit. It’s not. It’s just MQD Waiver with a new name and they have taken away the boost without giving anything back.

    1. That Medallion Qualification Dollars did not included taxes is already in the article, Barry Graham. I would have been happier if you found something that I missed and I was wrong — but there would be no reason for Delta Air Lines to include taxes, as they do not benefit from them.

      Important to note is that spending on lodging and rental vehicles can count towards earning Medallion Qualification Dollars — but Delta Air Lines may be considered a third party site; and therefore the possibility exists that one may not be able to take advantage of elite benefits in those membership programs when not booking directly with those entities…

  7. I don’t think they’ve thought through this latest “enhancement”. All the business travelers whose companies are footing their bill will suddenly receive no credit for the flights they’ve taken. Can’t wait to see how that works out for Delta.

    1. Only a small percentage of SkyMiles members will actually benefit from these changes, Chris.

      I agree with you about seeing how this plays out. As I predicted in the article, I would not be surprised if one or two “givebacks” are eventually announced to appease more members. Delta Air Lines has been notorious for cutting beyond the bone and then offering a minimal “giveback” or two in the past as an illusion of some sort of compromise: “We listened to you and have made changes based on your feedback.”

      This scheme is a great way to psychologically convince some members to return to patronizing Delta Air Lines with their business to have them feel like they “won” something and to have them appreciate the SkyMiles membership program instead of avoid it.

      1. Agreed, I fully expect to get a “We listened to you” walkback email once all the road warriors realize that their frequent travel nets them nothing.

        They’re undercutting the premise of loyalty programs as a whole by repeatedly raising the cost of elite status while taking away the benefits. Personally it was already no longer worth it to me, as I travel with my family and no longer qualify for any upgrades (limited to just a single partner) or even access to exit rows (not permitted for kids).

  8. I understand that the SkyClub situation is unsustainable, as is the number of elite members… but I simply don’t understand how any kind of benefit here is attainable for the average traveler.

    And maybe that’s the point. Still it’s interesting in that more leaders are talking about the trend toward leisure travel and needing more “experiences” at lower tiers… but this basically the opposite.

    The dollars required to earn status with spend is just insulting. If you have $350,000 of spend you probably have a Platinum or Centurion card. It’s unlikely anyone with that kind of money is naive enough to invest it in earning SkyMiles. The opportunity cost of earning a highly inflated and constantly devaluing currency. And even then, is anyone except Diamond medallions actually getting upgrades anyway?

    1. I do not disagree with you, Peter; but I believe that part of the problem is when the average traveler was able to score upgrades and other benefits, Delta Air Lines and other airlines were operating at losses.

      The airlines have been profiting in recent years. That may be the most telling signal of these perceived harsh changes…

    2. You’re right, and they are even admitting that they want to double down on extremely high-yield fliers. As the sky club situation shows, moving in this direction makes some sense.

      Here’s my point- They are trying to double their CC business. But I’m not sure there are 1) enough people in their “priority customer” net and 2) a valuable enough rewards structure to engage them.

      First whatever “road warriors” who are still out there get screwed because their tickets go through an agency and they can’t use the Amex. The status earning potential is going to go down drastically.

      So they’re obviously targeting high-spend SMB travel. I have to imagine that the population of business travelers who buy premium tickets, fly frequently AND pay for their own travel can’t be huge.

      Then, for the individual luxury traveler I can’t imagine how the math works to put spend on the Delta card. Even if you put significant your spending on the card to get the lounge access, you’re not going to earn a meaningful status, you’d be giving up the benefits you’d get with Plat or a similar transferable points card. You’d have to be pretty naive to do this.

      Meanwhile, for the rest of us getting the $550 premium card really buys nothing but a free bag, a couple lounge passes, and low value currency— again, at the opportunity cost of earning points on a more rewarding card.

      If this works, I’d expect anyone with any semblance of market power-from Marriott to McDonalds— to gut their loyalty programs because they can be more profitable without rewarding customers.

  9. My spouse and I both have American Express Platinum cards….we are both Platinum medallion members too. With these changes I am not sure these cards will be worth it and it will be a lot harder to reach Platinum. Any suggestions on a which card to move to????

    1. I have read comments on people claiming that switching to a credit card that simply offers cash back on purchases may now be a better deal, Rachel.

      I have advocated that for years — even if not as lucrative — if only to not be held ransom at the whims of the membership programs of airlines and to be able to earn a currency that can be used virtually anywhere…

  10. Curious as to your opinion on how to decide how to “rollover” the MQMs, and also curious as to which is/are your preferred airline(s).

  11. So in 2024 if rollover MQMs convert to MQDs OR miles OR combination of the two, will you be able to book travel using both MQMs and MQDs in2024? Would hate to lose the 400,000+ MQMs I have been reserving for a couple international trips in 24-25…

    1. @Greg if you are asking if you will be able to use the same MQMs that you convert to MQD to book travel, the answer is No, just as it us now. I think you will have the option to convert some to miles (which can be used for travel) and some to MQD (which can’t). So you could convert 200000 of your 400000 to 100000 miles and use them for travel, and 200000 of them to 10000 MQD (but not use them for travel). Hopefully they will give us until the end of the year to decide how to convert them. I would hate to convert mine to MQD and then find out that I didn’t need to because I already made the status I was aiming for.

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